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Paiva v. Parella

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

January 16, 2018

Joseph A. J. Paiva
v.
Christopher J. Parella, Chief of Police for the City of East Providence.

          For Petitioner: David J. Strachman, Esq.

          For Respondent: Robert E. Craven, Esq. Gregory S. Dias, Esq.

          Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

          OPINION

          Francis X. Flaherty, Associate Justice.

         The petitioner, Joseph A. J. Paiva, seeks review of a decision of the respondent, Christopher J. Parella, the Chief of Police for the City of East Providence, denying Paiva's application for a permit or license to carry a concealed weapon. Paiva filed a petition for the issuance of a writ of certiorari, which we granted on October 25, 2016. This matter came before the Supreme Court pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in this petition should not summarily be decided. After considering the parties' arguments and after reviewing the record, we conclude that cause has not been shown and that this petition may be decided without further briefing or argument. For the reasons discussed herein, we quash Chief Parella's decision denying Paiva's application and direct Chief Parella to issue, within ninety days of the date of this opinion, a new decision setting forth findings of fact and conclusions of law in conformity with this Court's holding in Gadomski v. Tavares, 113 A.3d 387 (R.I. 2015).

         I

         Facts and Travel

         For purposes of resolving the issues presently before the Court, we need discuss only the following facts. In October 2015, Paiva, a resident of the Town of Lincoln, applied to Parella, East Providence's chief of police, for a permit to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 11-47-11.[1] In a letter accompanying his application, Paiva explained that he required a concealed-carry permit because, as both a firearms collector and an operator of an import/export business, he was regularly exposed to large sums of cash. In his application, Paiva also declared that he already had obtained concealed-carry permits in two other states. It is significant that, when responding to questions set forth in the application, Paiva said that he had never been treated for mental illness. Similarly, when inquiry was made as to whether he had ever been arrested, Paiva responded, "No."[2] When prompted on the application as to whether he had previously applied for a concealed-carry permit from either the Attorney General or another city or town, Paiva answered that he had been granted a permit from the Attorney General but that it had expired and that his application to the Town of North Smithfield had been denied.

         In a letter dated January 25, 2016, Parella informed Paiva that his application had been denied. Parella's letter was brief. He wrote:

"Dear Mr. * * * Paiva,
"This letter will serve as formal written notification that after careful consideration your application to carry a concealed weapon has been denied. The responsibility for the issuance of a concealed weapon permit by a police chief is an important responsibility that requires close scrutiny and a real demonstration of need by the applicant. I realize you have been a good law abiding citizen, however the issuance of a permit to carry and the requirements involving the issuance of a permit to carry a concealed weapon requires more than just good character. It also requires a proper and true need.
"Do [sic] to the fact that you do not live or have a business in East Providence, I urge you to apply through the Lincoln Police Dept. or the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office. If I can be of further assistance in the future, please let me know."

         In the order granting Paiva's certiorari petition, this Court directed the parties to address "whether the petitioner can properly claim entitlement to the issuance of a license under § 11-47-11 in light of the petitioner's past assaultive behavior requiring the intervention of Lincoln Police and in light of the Attorney General's revocation, ...


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